Are You Really Hungry or Eating Out of Habit?

Habits can be wonderful things.

Successfully creating a new fitness habit might take a bit of effort, but once it becomes part of your routine, you own it!

Unfortunately, habits can also be a bugger to break. When I was working nine-to-five, I got in the routine of eating a snack around 4 p.m. — required sustenance for my evening trek to the gym and a dinner that wouldn’t materialize until 8 p.m.

Now that I have the opportunity to work out in the morning and supper is on the table at a more reasonable hour, that mid-day snack isn’t always a necessity. But when I first started working at home, come late afternoon, I’d migrate toward the fridge, hungry or not.

If you are a clock-watcher, or if you are a stickler for eating a certain number of times/meals a day, you might be eating out of habit.

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Check out my day of eats when I ignored the clock and listened to my body instead.

Breakfast: 9:30 a.m.

I’m always hungry first thing in the morning.

Check that.

I’m usually hungry first thing in the morning, but today, nada. It was a good three hours after waking before I even thought about breakfast and when I did, a soft-boiled egg on toast sufficed.

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Lunch/Snack: 3:00 p.m.

It was way after lunchtime when my stomach started to gurgle and I still wasn’t overly hungry. Weird, but I went with it, foraged around the fridge and came out with a few spoonful of leftover crab salad and some cherries. It looked kinda of sad, so I added a couple slices of avocado and then ended up putting them back.

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By dinnertime, I estimated I’d consumed less than 500 calories, a ridiculously low number for an active individual! (Besides the regular stuff, my day included a 45-minute dog walk and a yoga class.)

Dinner 7:00 p.m.

Bill suggested we check out Q39, a local barbeque joint run by national barbecue champion Rob Magee. The word is out about Q39 and we couldn’t get a table until 7:00 on a Thursday night; the place was packed and now I’m hungry!

More than a couple of award-winning items on Magee’s menu has folks talking. We were lucky they weren’t out of their blue ribbon burnt ends; that and a sampler platter that included house made chipotle sausage, smoked chicken, baked beans, cornbread and apple coleslaw …

Q39 promises to take barbecue to the next level. And they do!
Q39 promises to take barbecue to the next level. And they do!

and an order of onion straws with a BBQ aioli!

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I think this takes care of the low-calorie count for the day!

I have no idea why I wasn’t hungry earlier in the day; maybe my body sensed the meal to come! Luckily I listened to its cues, for this meal on top of my regular eats would have been way over the top!

Are you a three-squares type or do you go with the flow? This day was a bit unusual; usually I’m three squares and one snack, but, hey, it worked. —Karen

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  1. I’ve found that taking time the day/night before to plan meals has drastically improved my eating habits. My willpower is dangerously low when I get hungry, making it more likely that I am going to reach for less than awesome food choices. Having convenient, healthy meals and snacks ready to rock and roll has been a game changer for me.